Realtors like state's housing plan that Pleasanton opposes

Governor's bill would strip California cities of right for detailed review of developers' plans

The California Association of Realtors this week applauded a "build by right" proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown that Pleasanton Mayor Jerry Thorne and the League of California Cities oppose.

Brown's plan would allow proposed land use decisions by developers to occur without any public review or public hearings and would give city and county staffs the decision-making authority over elected city councils and county boards of supervisors.

"The governor's 'By Right Housing Proposal' pre-empts local discretionary land use approvals, eliminates opportunities for public review of projects and project-level environmental review and restricts design review," City Manager Nelson Fialho said in a report to the Pleasanton City Council Tuesday night.

"These factors support the city taking an 'oppose' position to the governor's proposal." Fialho added.

The city's opposition will be conveyed to Brown in a letter from Thorne, who also is a member of the League of California Cities.

In opposing the measure, Pleasanton joins other California cities and counties 's opposition and comes on the heels of an endorsement of Brown's bill by the Realtors association, which favors the "build by right" proposal.

"CAR recognizes the urgency of California's housing crisis and fully supports Gov. Brown's efforts to reduce development costs and improve the pace of housing production," said the organization's president Pat "Ziggy" Zicarelli.

Zicarelli added. "We encourage the Legislature to include this proposal in its final state budget."

Brown, as part of the budget May Revise, asked the Legislature to approve his By Right Housing Proposal.

"This is an attempt to streamline affordable housing approvals and would require cities to approve a certain type of housing project with certain levels of affordable units without the typical review process," Fialho said.

He added:

"This means that the city may not require a conditional use permit, planned unit development permit or other discretionary review or approvals that would constitute a 'project' for purposes of CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act, is a statute that requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions,)

"The city of Pleasanton takes a great deal of pride in being the 'City of Planned Progress,' with a sharp focus on urban design principles to ensure a livable community that provides transportation infrastructure, bike and pedestrian connectivity and other architectural enhancements that result in projects that are well integrated into the community.

"It is important to protect the city's ability to have local control over the review process for projects."

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